This is a photo of me and my contemporaries: Scott Tinley, Mark Allen and Scott Molina.

As some of you may know, we had a dominant hold on most of the races in the 80’s and early 90’s and we were known as “The Big Four”.

For me, the significance of this photo is I always knew that all of these guys would be ready to race with the intention of beating me at any given triathlon and there would be no mercy! I felt the same.

Going into every race, especially the IRONMAN World Championships in Hawaii, I made sure that — in addition to being physically ready — I was psychologically prepared when I arrived at the starting line. I knew that I couldn’t control my competitors or their physical or mental states, but I could control my own training and the belief I had in myself.

Just like investing in physical training, it’s important for athletes to be psychologically ready to race and hold onto the belief that you can achieve your goals. Worrying about your competition or allowing other external factors to undermine your focus is a sure pathway to failure.

Whether you’re racing for a podium spot or a new PR, the psychological aspects are the same. There are highs and lows throughout the race and often you must rely on that rock-solid belief that you can push through the low points and manage your discomfort effectively.

Always go into your “A” race with the confidence that you know you are going to have a good day—you just don’t know how good it is going to be.